Tips for Safely Frying a Turkey

Frying a holiday turkey can be tricky. Here are some tips from UGA experts to help make sure your bird is thoroughly cooked and your holiday doesn’t include a trip to the emergency room or a call to the fire department. “People who fry turkeys say it produces a moister turkey. And it’s quicker,” said Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Cooperative Extension food safety specialist. “But in the eyes of safety experts, the typical propane-fueled turkey fryer is a major accident waiting to happen. There are definitely safety issues to consider.” Don’t use too much oil: Some of the most serious injuries are caused by faulty or misused equipment, like unstable fryer stands, uninsulated pot handles and or fry pots that have been overfilled with oil. Filling the pot too full of oil can cause the oil to spill over when the turkey is placed in the pot. Spillovers at cooking temperatures can cause severe burns, Andress warns. Food safety by the fryer: “You have to be sure all the harmful bacteria have been killed,” Andress said. “The only way to do this is to measure the temperature of the cooked turkey in several places with a food thermometer.” First, heat the oil to 365 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This usually takes 45 minutes to an hour. Next, add your turkey and allow the oil to return to 365 to 375 degrees. Whole turkeys require about 3 minutes per pound to cook. To be sure your bird is safely cooked, she said, the temperature must reach at least 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast. Some cooks prefer the innermost part of the thigh to reach 180 degrees. Andress recommends following these safety steps: Use propane-fired turkey fryers outdoors, a safe distance from buildings and anything that can burn, never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or inside garages, place the fryer on a flat surface to reduce the risk of accidental tipping, never leave the fryer unattended, never allow children or pets near the fryer. Even after use, the oil inside the pot can remain dangerously hot for hours, don’t overfill the fryer, use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching the pot or lid handles, make sure the turkey is completely thawed. Be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, which could cause a fire or explosion hazard and keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. And never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
Source: Tifton Grapevine